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ONCE UPON THE FARM

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Through the years, I've spent countless hours, weekends, months, years helping Anyplace Farm riders reach their goals.  I often showed up with my camera and took tons of pictures.  Developing those pictures also typically meant spending half of what I made for the day!  But, I love to take pictures and I'm happy I was able to capture a lot of memories on film.  When it's all said and done, the memories are worth more than anything.  These pictures bring back not only great memories of times spent with my students but also give me great pride in my own accomplishments with them.

Alyssa & Bailey

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Alyssa had to come the farthest the fastest. When she came to me, her pony, Bailey had been on a year-long lay up and was finally able to start work early in the year.  But starting back to work meant slow going if Bailey was to recover properly.  So for the first few months, Alyssa and Bailey worked only at the walk and trot.  Eventually, they were able to start cantering then they started jumping little X jumps. 

Alyssa had jumped Bailey before, shortly after she purchased him, but he showed signs of soreness early on.  He was never sound enough days in a row for her to ever do any training with him.  So, starting back jumping was like starting from scratch.  Within a matter of months, Alyssa and Bailey went from jumping little X's to jumping 2'6".  Soon, the pair were placing in the top three in their classes and coming home with the occasional Reserve Champion and Champion. 

With Alyssa's patience concerning Bailey's recovery, the unflagging support of her mother and Alyssa's strong determination, she got herself farther in three or four months than she'd gotten in the three years prior.  Alyssa started the 2006 year riding with my good friend, Terri Young of Clairvaux in Leesburg, VA.  She also worked for Terri through the summer up until she went college and still helps out occasionally on breaks.  She sold her pony to a client of Terri's.

Alyssa is now a student at George Mason University.

 

 


Sarah & Romeo

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If I were to give out an award for Most Determined, it would have to go to Sarah.  I don't think I've ever met a more difficult pony than hers.  Romeo had his own agenda from day one and we were never really able to get him to budge off of it, but we did manage to get him to be a little flexible from time to time.  Sarah worked months just on getting Romeo to walk.  Then she worked on walk-trot transitions for more months.  Eventually, she was jumping him around little courses.  There'd be days when Romeo would come home with a Reserve Champion and days where he decided bringing NASCAR effects to the show ring would be so much more fun.  He would test Sarah's patience in the morning classes at shows but she always went back in and they always came out with great results.  Regardless of Romeo's ability to 'get with the program', Sarah got it and learned a lot.  I always told her that after Romeo, every other ride will be a breeze.  I've ridden some crazies in my time but he took the cake.

Convinced that Romeo's mother had to have been standing on all fours when he was born, thus dropping him on his head, Sarah has decided that Romeo will spend his days as a pasture mate to a new horse for her when the right time comes.  And for that, Romeo is a very lucky pony.

With such determination, I am confident that Sarah will go on to succeed in whatever she puts her mind to, as long as she puts the same effort into it as she put into training Romeo.


Allie & Merlin

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Allie is one of those girls that was born with great equitation, where the rest of us have to work at it.  Her pony Merlin, although not as challenging as Romeo, definitely kept Allie on her toes.  Allie gave Merlin all of his mileage, introducing him to the Green Pony division.  Once Merlin started to understand his job, she was also able to use him in Pony Equitation.  Merlin and Allie made a great team, both so consistent in exhibiting enviable form that just came naturally to them. 

Allie was such a quick study and tried so hard every time she was presented with a new challenge.  She picked up braiding so quickly which made my life so much easier, eliminating those 11:00 p.m. nights before the show!

Allie had a great way of laughing off some of the worst moments in our horse showing weekends.  Like the weekend Merlin and Romeo tore all over Sandstone, shipping boots, sheets, leadlines just a flying!  I was quietly stewing, poor Sara was in tears and Allie just marched on along with me in the field, half giggling, half in disbelief of what we were seeing.  Thankfully, we were the first ones there so no one else was around.  We did catch the ponies and the show ended up being a great one with both girls taking home the top ribbons for the day.

 


Mary & PT

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Mary and I didn't get to train together for very long.  Without a horse of her own, it was difficult for Mary to stay in a consistent lesson program with me.  Once she was without a place to ride, I arranged for her to ride lesson horses where I was teaching at the time at Sunny's Corner in Aldie, VA.  Afterwards, she was able to ride at the farm of a close friend of mine in Middleburg, VA.  Still trying to find the right situation for Mary, I introduced her also to Troy Hendricks and she began taking lessons with him.  In 2004, I nominated Mary for the VHSA Riding Scholarship, of which she was named the proud recipient.  Mary used the scholarship to ride in lessons with Troy.

During her time with Troy, she was able to semi-lease a horse, Westward (PT) and had a great time showing him winning some ribbons she was very proud of.  Hoping to find a situation closer to home for Mary, I introduced her to Rachel Howell who has her own barn which is only minutes from Mary's home.  Mary is now able to ride Rachel's horses and works hard to earn her keep around the barn.


Kerry & Cinders

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I am so proud of Kerry and the things she and I accomplished together in a year.  Kerry was riding at the 'beginner advanced' level when I met her.  She was functional over a 2' course but had all the guts and ambition to learn and do so much more.  And more she did!

In 2004, Kerry and her mare, Incandescent (Cinders) won multiple tri-colors and series end champions, earning them Children's Equitation Champion & Children's Hunter Champion in the VHSA Associate Program for the year.  Kerry qualified for the VHSA Medal Finals (regular program) on Cinders, finishing out 12th overall.  They also participated in the Summerplace Farm Invitational, finishing 5th in Children's Hunter.

During the summer of 2004, I introduced Kerry to Troy Hendricks (who was working out of The Barracks in Charlottesville, VA at the time) in hopes of cultivating a relationship that would be conducive to Kerry's progression into the rated shows.  At the end of the show season and after the Associate Finals, Kerry donated Cinders to Randolph Macon Woman's College. 

Kerry is now a student at Washington College and owns a new horse, Jazz (Saltaire).

 


Samantha & Fluffy

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I don't feel like I can take a lot of credit for Sam's successes while she was with me.  I really only coached Sam at the shows.  So, I feel as though I was there more for moral support and confidence building.  Starting with me late in the season, Sam and Fluffy (Little Miss Jezabel) shot up from the bottom of the ranks and finished the 2004 year out 13th in Childrens Hunter, 18th in Childrens Equitation and 19th in Junior Pleasure in the final standings in the VHSA Associate Program.

Sam was always most generous with her time and her horse.  When she wasn't showing, she was helping out the other girls and if one of them didn't have a ride, she loaned them her mare.  Both Codi and Mary enjoyed rides on Fluffy.  Sam loaned Fluffy to Mary for her to ride during lessons with me and she loaned her to Codi for Finals. 

With Fluffy retired as a broodmare, Sam now owns a mare she calls Elle and keeps the mare in NC where she attends college at Elon. 


Piper & Hoot

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Piper was one of the most naturally talented students I've ever had.  Aside from her natural talent, Piper also had a love for her ponies and her strong competitive desire to carry her.  My job was to try to channel that talent and keep it on course and to put a little polish and finishing touches on it. 2003 was her first year showing in the VHSA Associate Program and turned out to be a banner year for Piper. 

Piper and I started working together in August of 2003 and when we began, she was sitting nineteenth in Pony Equitation.  She finished the year Third in Pony Equitation, using both Osmosis Jones (Freckie) and Foxmor Inchaoots (Hoot) as her mounts.  Hoot was nowhere on the charts when he started and they finished out 2003 with Reserve Champion Green Pony.  When Piper first started riding Freckie, he was barely rideable and still remained a little on the spooky side by the time I came along.  But her persistence and love for Freckie paid off.  She stuck with him, earning them 2003 Reserve Champion Small/Medium Pony Hunter. 

Her awards for 2003 didn't end there.  She also rode Farnley Double Eagle (Eagle) to Champion in Pony Pleasure.  Lastly, Piper was the very first recipient of the Barbara Meegan Young Rider Award, an award which I nominated her for and was thrilled that she earned.  Piper is all grown up now and is probably taller than me.  She continues to ride at her mother's Sunny's Corner Farm and continues to take her share of trips to the winner's circle.

 

 


Terri Young & Buster

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Buster is my old horse.  I bought him out of a field in Bealeton, VA, in the dark, with only truck headlights for lighting.  I was hoping to find a project horse that I could train for resale and possibly teach lessons on.  Buster was small, scrawny and didn't really have anything fancy about him.  His pasture mates included cattle, a few goats and some other horses.  I think I bought him out of pity.

Although I didn't get papers with Buster, I was able to read his tattoo and get a lot of information on him such as his registered name (Jetcin)  place of birth (Ocala, FL), breeding, former owners, racing records and his age.  I bought him thinking he was four but learned from the papers, he was still three, even in Thoroughbred years.  I also learned that in three short years, Buster had been owned by five different trainers.  I was his sixth owner.  Out of compassion for his well-being, I decided to keep him for awhile. After I got some weight on Buster, he turned in to a completely different horse.  He had tons of energy and was completely unrideable for the novices I'd planned to teach on him. 

What Buster did show me was that he was incredibly brave, curious but not spooky, careful and wonderfully athletic.  I soon learned that he would be happiest as a jumper or as an eventer.  After owning Buster for three years, I decided to sell him.  Enter Terri Young (that's her in the picture to the left).  I contacted her to have her help me sell him to a home better suited for his needs.  After Terri watched me jump Buster (who was still very green) around a 3'6" - 4' course (he'd never jumped over 3'), she decided to buy him for herself. 

After owning Buster for about five or so years, Terri sold Buster to someone in North Carolina.  I'm hoping I can track him down, as I'd like to follow his progress.

 

 


Codi & Lincoln

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Codi and I trained together for about five years.  During that time, Codi owned and rode a lot of horses.  We saw a lot of shows and a lot of ribbons.  I have very fond recollections of all of our road trips, Finals, and friendship.

Nothing thrills me more than to see a student of mine continue on to college, and riding on their Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team, just as I did.  Codi graduated from Randolph Macon Woman's College where she trained with JT Tallon.  She made the team as a freshman and performed well in both riding and academics, making the Dean's list several semesters in a row and earning several riding titles, such as High Point Rider at the 2005 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Equestrian Championship.  Codi also competed in the Southwest Virginia Hunter Jumper Association (SWVHJA) shows, VHSA and USEF shows as a college student.

She now runs her own lesson and sales barn in Lynchburg, VA called Mane Top Farm.

 


Leah & Roxy

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Leah was the first Anyplace Farm girl.  I met Leah when a friend asked me to teach at a barn she was managing, Hunt Ridge.  It was located at Stoke, an historic estate in Middleburg, which ironically was a place where I had worked when Tom Finch was there years before.  Leah was my first student there. 

It's hard to believe that I took Leah to her first dance, taught her to drive, got her her first job (in my office!), took her to orientation for college and now she's about to graduate from college.  The good times Leah and I had are countless.  Together, we went to a lot of horse shows, showed a lot of horses, won a lot of ribbons, and had times I could easily repeat again without any regrets.

Leah and I took a $600 pony and brought him up through the ranks in the locals, all the way to the top three in the rateds.  At the time, it didn't seem like that much of a feat, but looking back now, we covered a lot of ground and I'm proud of what we accomplished together.

Leah was a natural, through and through and always gave the softest ride.  I often had people contact me and ask for Leah to ride their horse or pony.  Her beautiful riding style caught the eye of people that would eventually become clients.

Highly organized and a perfectionist, Leah had excellent braiding, clipping and grooming skills and she often helped me get new clients 'on board' with the Anyplace Farm program.  She was 13 when I met her and because her parents weren't able to attend shows on weekends, she got herself ready for shows, was never late, always reliable and rarely forgot a thing (more on that later ;)).  She was my right arm and I was so sad when she left for school.

Leah is now a graduate of Virginia Tech and is soon headed to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts.  She still enjoys showing dogs but maintains an interest in horses.  Every once in a blue moon, I'm lucky enough to get to hang out with Leah when she makes the rare visit home.


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